Sunday, September 21, 2008

Little Kids and Barbecue Parties - Play it Safe

Party Time for All Ages

Family of Swingers

Time for Birthday Presents

My nieces had a joint birthday party this week. The oldest sister turned 7. The baby had turned one a little earlier in the month. Middle sister is a February baby.

The mothers got together and were talking and comparing stories as moms will do at such gatherings. A high school buddy asked what I'd been writing. When I said I'd been doing a lot on grill writing, the stories began to fly.

Most the mothers worried about grilling with little ones. It's certainly true that it can be dangerous. So is the kitchen stove. It's important to plan, set limits and watch really close.

I've grilled since the boys were born (and before), and we've only had one mishap. The phone rang. I ran in to get it. The dad person was not paying attention. He put the lighter fluid (which I don't even use now that I've shifted to a chimney starter) down on the porch. The baby who was 2 years old at the time and would eat or drink literally anything took a swig of the lighter fluid.

If a child takes a gulp of lighter fluid, you go the emergency room. In our case, he had to drink something which made him vomit. The doctor said it might be hard to get him to drink the medicine. Of course not. This is a kid who will drink the lighter fluid. He was more than happy to drink the medicine but stopped smiling about the time he started heaving and then vomiting.

First note - keep dangerous items up high.

As far as the grill, yes, it is hot. Stress that to the kids. If they're really little, it may be best to keep them inside or put the grill in a different location where the kid traffic is not likely to go. Also, remind kids repeatedly that grills are hot and watch that they don't get near the grill.

Another option with toddler aged kids and one I used was a play bed. I would put the baby outside in the folding play bed with toys where he could see me and talk, but he could not get out and get to the grill.

If you're from a two parent family or have other relatives over, an extra adult can keep a young one busy and out of danger.

My boys grew up in a grilling family. There were just a few months when they were at ages where they could walk but not really understand well that the grill could burn them or that lighter fluid is not for drinking. I just took extra precautions during those months. After that, I made sure that I spoke to the boys and drilled in safety messages.

I did cut meats small and sliced hot dogs and then cut them across for a good period of time to prevent choking. That's the most common reason little ones go the hospital ER - choking. We never had a problem with that, but I did make sure that I cut in kid sized bites and watched the shape. Round shapes can be a problem.

You can grill with kids just as you can do most things with kids if you prepare and anticipate. We had a lot of great barbecue memories going back as far as they can remember. The only accident we had was the lighter fluid, and that same son also ate a nickel, the spider plant, leaves, a rock, and probably some things I missed.

So, happy grilling - even with kids. Just keep it safe.


pearllie said...

Great advise and tips. I love grilling. Birthday parties are lots of fun but an accident can really spoil the mood. I always have my kids birthday parties outdoors. I am from a big family so I usually get my sisters and older cousins to assist. It's great FUN!

Grill Girl said...

Hi Pearllie - We have most of our parties outside. Our family is pretty big too. Those extra hands really do help a lot.